I know....I know. I've written plenty on this blog about how tired I've grown of seeing and hearing about the Yankees and Red Sox. But...somebody in Cincinnati finally snapped. Paul Daugherty [who looks like Steve Garvey] of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a piece about how the Reds got screwed in the All Star festivities.
The Reds have the THIRD best record in the National League....yet fielded only ONE PLAYER on the All Star team. And that was Bronson Arroyo, who was a Red Sox pitcher just 6 months ago. True, you cannot blame the Yankees or Red Sox, I guess, on this one.
But FOUR of the NL's starters are New York Mets....who also field two pitching reserves....making for a total of SIX All Stars. The worst team in the NL, the Pirates, got TWO All Stars. The second worst team in the NL, the Braves [who are on TV almost as much as COPS], got THREE All Stars.
Anyhoo....read the article.
It has come to my attention that the Cincinnati Reds do not exist.
It's a Yankees world and a Red Sox world, with guest appearances by the Mets. The rest of baseball is furniture. The Reds are a 3-by-5 glossy of Pete Rose, bent double beneath a seat cushion in a boardroom at ESPN.
The starting teams in the All-Star Game next Tuesday will feature four New York Mets, two New York Yankees and three Boston Red Sox. In other words, it'll be just like every game broadcast by the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network for the last three months. I've seen David Ortiz so much, I'm thinking of inviting him to Christmas dinner.
Has anyone else seen enough?
Having worked in New York for a time in the mid-1980s, I can tell you the provincialism there makes Cincinnati seem like the United Nations of burgs.
If it doesn't happen in New York, or if it doesn't affect New York, it doesn't happen.
That sentiment is shared by the New York media, including those close by. In Bristol, Conn., say.
That the Yankees and Boston can't play each other 162 times is a major inconvenience for ESPN.
The decision-makers at ESPN couldn't spot Cincinnati with a detailed map and a 10-day head start. The only time the Heads on ESPN mention the Reds, it's to suggest they'll have the second-half staying power of an ice cube in an apartment fire.
Thanks for what you've done, Brandon Phillips. Way to go, Aaron Harang. Enjoy your three-day vacation. Somehow, Bronson Arroyo caught the eyes of someone. Arroyo made the NL All-Star team, the only Red so honored. Maybe it's the hair.
Not that the All-Star Game says anything about anything. Harang (9-5, 3.65 ERA) should have gone instead of Chris Carpenter (6-4, 2.85). The fact he didn't go ahead of the Mets' Pedro Martinez (7-4, 3.45) is a New York-centric farce.
Phillips lost to Dan Uggla on a coin toss. Their numbers are close. Uggla has six more homers. Phillips has a better batting average and is 16-for-16 in steals. Regarding David Ross: He has 110 at-bats. No one is an All-Star with 110 at-bats.
Regardless, the best part of the All Star Game is the introductions. Yet this year's selections were symptomatic of Lil Ol' Cincinnati Syndrome, a malaise we've been battling since the Big Red Machine. Simply put, we go national only when something colossally stupid occurs: Marge, Pete, Mapplethorpe, Wicky Wacky Wyche, the 2001 riots, etc.
The 2006 Reds are mentioned nationally as the First Team to Tank After the Break. This just in: Anyone who has followed the National League for more than five minutes knows it's as wide open as Janet Jackson's shirt on a magazine cover. The league's mediocrity will keep the Reds relevant through Labor Day.
You don't need to be a Reds fan to know that.
The team has worn its anonymity well. Manager Jerry Narron has played the No Respect card enough; he should wear an eyeshade instead of a ballcap. The Reds are barely good. Their relief pitching is a gasoline can next to a propane tank looking for a lightning strike. Their dangerous lineup spends too much time in the shop.
Entering Monday, they had the third-best record in the league. They'd won one fewer game than the Yankees. If GM Wayne "Midas" Krivsky can find a middle reliever and/or closer, they're right in the game.
They're better off than the Astros, currently the sexy choice for the NL wild-card club. Houston was two under .500 through Sunday. Not counting Roger Clemens, three of its four starting pitchers have ERAs of 4.97 or worse. The Astros are 11th in the league in runs scored, playing in a stadium almost as ridiculous as Great American Small Park.
But the Astros have Clemens. The Heads in New York know him. He played there once.
If the Reds make the postseason, New York might actually have to show up here. That'd kill 'em. We'll give them directions. We'll be polite. That's just how we are. Then the day after the Reds win it all, ESPN will lead with the Red Sox, waiving Wily Mo Peña.